Every organization in the world has at one time or another dealt with a project in crisis.
Delivering a project on time is the key to success. Over and above its importance in delivering a final product, a culture of timeliness ensures that necessary business processes are adhered to. But the best laid plans are no guarantee of a project’s successful completion.
Your reputation depends upon providing high-quality, and more importantly, timely delivery of work. Regardless of its size, there is always a lot of work that goes into planning a project. Despite minute planning, projects sometimes fail. This only points to a simple fact that there are multiple variables involved when planning a project; losing sight of even one of them can cause the project to come unstuck.
Here are a few things to keep in mind so as to bring a floundering project in on time and on budget.
Define Your Project
Many project managers and team members are often at a loss when asked, what they are specifically doing. Assigning team members parts of the project to finish without briefing them about the scope often can result is massive confusion. A project manager should ideally spend some time with the brief understanding exactly what the client wants. This should then be discussed with the manager and should be broken up into realistic objectives which can then be communicated to the team.
Make a clear scope statement for the project, including criteria defining when the project can be declared completed. To bring a project back on track, a team must go back and redefine the scope of the project to gain a clearer understanding of the stakeholders’ needs. Having a firm grip on project scope can provide the project manager greater control and minimizes need for changes and the risk involved.
Nip Scope-Creep in the Bud
Making sure you have clear answers to the questions below will help you in gauging any scope-creep and work accordingly.
- What is the purpose of the project?
- What are your time constraints?
- Do you have the capital, resources and the expertise to do this project?
Unexpected changes can arise in the project any time, the client might choose to go for another feature, or an addition you made might not be working out too well. A single change may not pose much of a problem, but when a bunch of them come upon you together, chances are your project is going to suffer.
Make sure you get all the necessary details from the clients in the beginning of the project. Try and deal with changes as soon as they arise. When you do make a decision to go ahead with a proposed change, gauge it from all possible perspectives to ensure it is a risk worth taking.
Manage Project Changes
Changes often require adjusting the time, cost, and quality, and involve running the risk of delaying the project, if too many. A strong project plan will help you insert necessary updates as changes happen, notifying the stakeholders when necessary. Often, the project team does not recognize a change has occurred. A strong project plan will help them identify minor changes before they blow up into major issues.
A project manager must keep his eye out for any prospective changes and reflect it back to the scope statement to keep the project on track.
Use the Right Tools
Some agencies still attempt to manage projects using desktop software applications like Microsoft Project and Microsoft Excel. The biggest challenge with these programs is that they are not meant for collaborative use. There is a serious problem of version control, for example, when two parties on the same project are discussing it over the phone, only to discover they have been viewing different versions of the document.
Such confusions are often not caught in time and cause enormous delays and changes in projects. A project management solution that is 100% online solves these issues by allowing all team members to access updated information about the project from any browser anywhere in the world.
Know the Limitations of Your Resources
Even after careful scope planning there remain chances for the project failing. Make sure you have enough capital to meet your working needs. Failing to do so will affect your planned steps and inadvertently lead to delays. Your team is your primary resource for completing your project. You need skilled labor that understands the task on hand. Try hiring people who are willing learners with a background in the area. Ensure that your team is motivated about delivering the project on time and on budget.
Make sure that you have enough hardware and tech support to follow through with the project. Have frequent meetings with your team to stay updated on where the project stands.
Any project an agency undertakes is a team effort. To have a team willing to work hard and engage their skills for successful completion of a project is half the battle won. The most important thing to do with a project in crisis is to make sure all the basic components are balanced.
You can produce results with the minimal of resources provided you plan and manage them well. At the end of the day, bringing in a project on time and on budget is all a question of quick, intelligent decision-making and efficient management.